Move your mind, Move your body, Move your soul.
You know when you hear something in a new way? Or in an old way but you finally actually HEAR it? This "a-ha!" moment hit me right between the eyes the other day when I heard the term: "Trauma Re-enactment"
Perhaps it was because of a culmination of conversations, thoughts + activities. A friend was reeling from an old rejection story. I began to look at my own rejection story and to see the patterns and spider webs that cascaded from that story.
Was I continuing to seek out rejection? Creating the pattern again and again?
I realized - BAM - that the rejection story is not my story any more. I have found an incredible circle of friends. I have people who care about me, who reach out to say hello. I have created some beautiful relationships. I have tested being vulnerable and have opened my heart in a new way.
So I burned that old story. I wrote all the stories of rejection down - and then I burned them in the fire. Finally ready to let them go.
Then, I took out my pen and journal and I wrote a new story. A story of unconditional love and care. A story of resilience and not being loved "in spite of" who I am. But having that love ALL that I am. Coursing through all the parts that I thought were still broken, when of course - they never were. That's ridiculous.
I know that life - and healing - is like a spiral. I know we come back around and around to similar stories and we have a new lens each time. I hope for my soul's sake, that I am getting closer to the full love of myself.
I heard something the other day that made me bristle. It was a white woman in wellness talking about how we can use our bodies & our intuition as a "barometer of truth."
There is a lot of talk about this in the wellness space. That we "know" the truth for ourselves. When it comes to filtering through stories, information and perspectives, people are called to "use their discernment".
On the surface, I buy in to this.
Like many with trauma histories, it has taken me a long time to feel that I could trust myself - my decisions, my body, my intuition. My body does house my history, and I have used talk therapy, yoga, writing & creative tools to regulate my nervous system and to move outside of the fight/flight/freeze/fawn trauma response.
Under the surface though, I question it the whole "your body is a barometer of truth". Especially in the world today where violence against black people being filmed and disseminated.
Police officers "seeing" guns in people's hands when it was really candy/a phone/nothing. Women putting keys through their knuckle-creases as they walk in a parking lot, sensing that something was "off" - but no one is there. A young child sees monster in the corner of the room, which turns out to be a pile of clothes.
These feelings, no doubt, felt very real to the feeler. And yet, here are instances of your intuition leading you astray. None of these situations were truly threatening, but the person sensed a threat none the less.
And what of the bias that is steeped in our culture regarding the "threat" of black people? Of course we use language to demonize and de-humanize black and people of color. We also have built in biases FELT in the body when we see black bodies. Crossing the street, averting eyes, assuming wrong-doing. It is highly prevalent.
So how do I reconcile these two things? Does your "body as barometer" hold true? Or is it just upholding our fears, biases, and past traumas?
I've come to the conclusion that our intuition *might not be* magic. I don't want to say it isn't magic, because there are still elements I can't quite explain. But the brain is magic, after all, and intuition is a brain function.
Our brains are constantly predicting what is about to happen in order to keep us physically safe. So in this sense, the brain is total magic. These predictions are based on previous experiences (inclusive of thoughts, feelings, and actions). The predictions help us navigate through our lives so that every occurrence isn't a complete shock to the system.
Intuition is knowing something "without evident rational thought and inference." Intuition is still our brain trying to predict the future - just without our conscious involvement.
But what about the tingling in the stomach? The feeling of a cold shadow? What about The Body Keeps the Score? Yes. We feel memories in the body. We have these sensations and we have attached stories to them, patterned it in to our bodies, and we feel it. It is a programmed pattern.
The intuitive senses we receive are predictions based on past situations. They are shouts of "making sense" that our brain offers to us. AND, our intuitive senses can be wrong. They are delivering our past to us as present. Including all of those old thoughts, movies, songs we listened to, emails, past boyfriends and side-ways glances, past slights and digs and lost loves.
Just like our brains and our bodies, our intuition is also steeped in our culture, our education and experience, our families, etc.
Our intuition is just as racist as you are - maybe even more than your conscious awareness! Since intuition is often subconscious, it is mired in the implicit bias that might not be at your attention in any moment.
So what can be done?
Keep growing, keep opening up, keep finding new perspectives.
The more that we broaden our experiences and concepts (thank you, Lisa Feldman Barrett), the more you open your mind to new predictions. It is possible to continue shaping and honing your intuition.
We TRUST our intuition because we are NOTICING when we are right about it. The more you notice it, the more you see it. Our intuition is the "barometer" of truth because you are shaping your perception that it works.
The next time you sense there is danger ahead or feel like "the right next step is x, y, z", I'm not saying don't listen to it. I'm not saying DO listen to it.
I'm saying - get a little curious about it.
Could you intuit even more when you start to move outside the box?
Shit is getting real (for white people).
After hundreds of years of countless Black deaths, all major systems (political, justice, healthcare, education, banking/credit, etc) built on white supremacy, things are at a "tipping point". Why now? Is it because now the murders of Black men are being filmed and circulated? Is it because COVID-19 has brought things to a halt - we're at home, millions are out of work, we are tasked with educating our children, people are dying, etc? Is it because we have an overtly racist asshole in the White House?
On #Blackouttuesday, I found myself posting this message: Don't go silent.
I first heard the term "White Silence" when I started working through the Me and White Supremacy workbook in December 2018. One of the questions stuck out to me, "Why do you stay silent?" and a prompt about whether or not you/I leave conversations when they get uncomfortable. Me and White Supremacy talks specifically about race. And as I worked through this particular piece, I realized how often I walk away from many conversations that make me feel uncomfortable, agitated or distressed.
It is almost easier for me to stick around and NOT be silent about race and Black Lives Matter because it's not about me. Because it's about justice and re-humanizing. But when I dig deeper, my White Silence, and my silence in general is 100% about me. (PS, that's the point of the whole workbook. I suggest you buy the book and do the work).
It's ironic because on the one hand, I am drawn towards taboo subjects, loud & opinionated friends, and speaking up. And on the other hand, I am afraid to say what I believe or dissent because I am afraid of losing love or respect from others.
I am so deeply afraid of rejection and abandonment, that that is why I have stayed silent.
If people abandon me for my ideas and beliefs, what then. Does that mean that I am no longer valuable or lovable. Does it change my inherent worth if people leave me? Of course not, right? And yet, a look at my history...
When I look at my relationships in high school and college, I was the cheerleader for the (White) men in my life. I let them lead completely. I stayed in the background, the supporter. I let my BF's friends be my friends. I didn't invest in my own relationships beyond that of me and my BF.
Often with men, I would pretend that I didn't have an opinion, to be seen as "cool" or easy going, or "not like other girls". I pretended for so long that eventually I had to do a lot of work figuring out what I felt and knew and wanted.
Early in my marriage, my silence came through as passive-aggressiveness. I wouldn't say how I really felt because I didn't want to rock the boat. I was afraid I would say the wrong thing. I was afraid if my husband really knew me then he would leave me. In fact, that is what I ultimately told him in our therapists office three years ago when we nearly divorced. I'm afraid if you know the real me, then you won't love me.
Glennon Doyle talks in Untamed about how girls look to each others' faces to see if they are hungry. I caught myself the other day doing this exact thing! Looking to my kids' and my husband's faces to see if they thought the movie we were watching was funny. Was I looking to see if I should laugh?
In my work place I often stay silent, too. When I owned the yoga studio, I was silent about the financial distress that we were in. I was silent about how others' cut me down. I believe that my silence brought down that business.
In the corporate world, I find that I am silent because I don't want to be wrong. I'm afraid of making a mistake and being laughed about or fired because of my incompetence. Rejection.
Funny enough, an anti-racist rant that I had over email made it's way to a "big boss" at my company. (Thank you Universe) I was so scared that I would be judged or worse because of my words. Instead, I received a thoughtful response and a reminder that it is more than ok to speak up, it is expected.
What I am realizing about my silence today is that Silence IS Violence. It's violence towards Black people when we don't stand up and say that Black Lives Matter. And it is violence towards myself when I don't speak the truth of my heart. Silencing your heart is self-harm.
The core wound for me here is abandonment. This is the work for me today.
What is your work?
You gotta feel it to heal it.